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NATO Surveillance Aircraft To Support Anti-IS Campaign

NATO has agreed "in principle" to a U.S. request to support the international coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group with surveillance aircraft.

The alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, made the announcement on February 11 after a defense ministers' meeting in Brussels.

Stoltenberg said the ministers agreed to provide AWACS aircraft to allies participating in the U.S.-led coalition, freeing up their national resources to take part in operations over Iraq and Syria.

The planes from NATO's AWACS unit won't be directly involved in the operations against the IS group, however.

The announcement came as more than 20 countries contributing to the war against IS militants prepared to meet in Brussels.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he would lay out details of a U.S. plan for accelerating the campaign at the gathering.

Carter also said he would ask coalition members to find ways to increase their contributions, either militarily, financially, or in other ways.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa